OSX and Virtualisation

I yet again go on about how good OSX is at virtualisation.

Over the last two days I’ve had cause to demo some more specific Exchange and Lync deployments to a few people - and I immediately decided virtualisation on my laptop was the way to go. No need to rely on a 3G connection that may not be there, no need to rely on potentially crappy wi-fi.

I am still constantly surprised by the capabilities of a
laptop to run so many virtual guests - how did people cope without desktop virtualisation previously? My demo suite is currently running:

  • 2008 R2 Domain Controller, also running SQL 2008 R2
  • Windows 2012 running Office Web Apps
  • Windows 2012 running Lync 2013 Front End
  • Windows 2008 R2 running Lync 2010
  • Windows 2008 R2 running Exchange 2010
  • 2 x Windows 8 clients

Admittedly they take a good 5-8 minutes to get started to the point of usability, but once they’re all running they just work. I can demo Lync IM/voice/video and Exchange UM integration all from
one laptop. How cool is that?

For all of the above bar the Windows 8 clients I use VMWare Fusion. The Windows 8 clients are running on Parallels 8 - the only reason I chose Parallels for the clients was that I was running in to some issues getting the video camera working on Fusion/Win8, whereas it ‘just worked’ in Parallels. To be clear though I didn’t really spend any time on trying to fix it - sure it’s not anything too complex.

The scalability of virtualisation on OSX is in my opinion very compelling. I can build specific environments incredibly quickly (I’ve a library of ‘standard’ machines) and it certainly helps productivity. I’m sure running virtualisation on Windows 7/8 is also a great story too by the way, I just find OSX to be eminently capable in this area.

The laptop I’m running it on is of a fairly decent specification - but it’s still a couple of years old. It’s a late 2011 Macbook Pro with 16Gb RAM, a SATA-III SSD, and a 1Tb physical hard disk (I took out the DVD drive). It’s very capable. Makes me wonder what the new units are like on this front - more processor capability for a start - but then again with all those machines running I’m hardly processor constrained anyway, it tends to be RAM. I’ve had a hunt about and have not been able to find any 16Gb SODIMS of the type required for the MBP - I’d love to be able to put in 32Gb of RAM, I’m sure that’d make the units even more capable!

I’d like to hear from anybody who uses a similar set up on Windows - how does it perform?

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